Schools are not buildings, curriculums, and machines. Schools are relationships and interactions among people. (Johnson & Johnson, 1989)
Did you know that I love the beginning of school? Honestly, my anticipation has prevented me for years from sleeping through the night before the first day of school. The smells of floor wax, new sneakers, fresh pencils and, of course, the familiar smiles are emotional signposts in my mind. This summer I missed having school in session. This is not to say I don’t love my summer vacation, I’m just really happy that school has begun.
I can tell that many of you are glad to be here, too. Your energy, passion, and excitement is palpable. Students were met at the classroom door with greetings and salutations. The atmosphere was very pleasant. The children loved their first day of school. I also have learned that many of you had made calls home before the children even left the building on Thursday. It goes without saying how appreciative our parents are for this simple act. You welcomed these nervous and anxious parents into the Norwood-Norfolk family. Well done!
Building positive relationships with our students and parents is essential to our mission as educators. I have previously participated in Twitter chats (@CruikshankJamie) with parents and educators on this topic and the consensus was always overwhelming. Schools that make relationship-building a priority excel in almost all areas. The results have been touted, shown, and discussed during these chats. Your small gestures to children and their families forms the foundation for success. We can build a strong structure on a good foundation.
While we continue to stress relationship-building with our students and parents, I’d also like to encourage you to search for opportunities to practice the 100/0 principle with colleagues, co-workers, and family. I’m confident that it will improve all relational situations.
Good luck with this school year. You’re off to a wonderful beginning.
Be the light!